A Guide to Antique Home Insurance by Daigle & Travers, Darien, Connecticut (203) 655-6974
Homeowners insurance is vital for any homeowner who wants to keep their investment safe. However, some houses need more coverage than others, especially an older home. When it comes to your antique home, your homeowner’s insurance policy should be more complex due to the home’s unique characteristics and it is generally costlier than a newer home’s insurance policy.
Why does insuring an older home cost more?
Homes built prior to 1945 were simply built differently than today’s modern homes. Because most policies will usually offer to rebuild with “like kind and quality” materials, your policy will cost more than a typical homeowners policy. A specialty policy designed for antique homes would be even more expensive because it offers replacement and restoration coverage with historically accurate materials and construction methods. These policies are designed to ensure that your home maintains its historical integrity. That said, the materials and the craftsmen who install the materials cost more and due to these higher construction costs, your premiums will be costlier for your antique home.
What makes your home an antique or historic home?
When insuring antique or historic homes, the year your home was built is very significant. Homes built before 1945 are generally considered antique by insurers. Construction methods effectively modernized after 1945. So as far as homeowner’s insurance goes, the year built is the first indication of significance.
Any antique home built prior to 1945, but also meets one of these three characteristics, would likely be considered a “Historic Home”:
• Homes with a connection to a historic event
• Homes with a connection to a person of historic significance
• Homes that utilized unique architecture or construction methods
You’ll find that homes built prior to 1900 are more difficult to insure than newer homes. Most insurers usually have a threshold for the age of a home that they can accommodate. So not only will you find the insurance more expensive, it may be harder to find. However, carriers such as Chubb, PURE, AIG Private Client Group, Cincinnati and several others will usually insure your home with coverage suitable for a antique home.
What should you look for in a policy?
Most home owners assume when you buy a standard homeowners insurance policy, all your property will be replaced back to the way it was prior to their claimable loss. However, this is not the case when it comes to insuring an antique home with a standard (HO-3) policy.
If your antique home has wide-planked hard wood floors that get damaged, a standard policy would replace it with strip wood from the nearby lumberyard. If your plaster walls are damaged the insurer may only be obligated to replace it with drywall. This is not what you want when it comes to your Antique or Historic home. You want to be certain that the historic features of your home are covered so they can be replaced with historically accurate materials.
For older homes, a replacement cost policy makes more sense. A replacement cost policy is one that will give you all the money you need to repair or replace your entire antique home when it is damaged. When you insure your older home for its replacement cost, your insurer will compensate you for the cost of reconstructing or restoring your home to the exact way it was before it was destroyed up to the policy limit. When possible, request Guaranteed Dwelling Replacement Cost coverage.
Guaranteed Replacement Cost in Antique Home Insurance Coverage
“Guaranteed Replacement Cost” (GRC) is included automatically by the insurers suited best to insure an antique home. It can be added by endorsement to some homeowner’s policies, while many carriers will not offer it as an option at all.
By purchasing a policy with this valuable coverage you effectively gain unlimited dwelling coverage. As long as you accept the insurer’s initial inspection results, inform the insurer of any change to the home that would impact the estimate replacement cost, and accept the annual inflationary increases each year, your insurer will pay ANY amount to replace your home. This is crucial for antique homes because often when a home is being repaired, the cost of repair exceeds the insurance dwelling limit. Without it, you could fall short of the necessary funds to rebuild your home.
When Guaranteed Replacement(GRC) is not available from most carriers, extended replacement coverage is the next best option. This policy endorsement will cover an additional 20%-50% of the insured value of the home. Knowing that it could cost you much more to restore your home, this option provides the peace of mind that you will be covered when going through the remodeling stages following a loss.
Building Code Law & Ordinance Coverage
Building Code coverage is needed when an antique building has been damaged. This coverage protects you when you have to update your home to the latest building codes following a loss. When rebuilding, you may have to rewire your house, hardwire smoke detectors, or move the home on the property to meet the current set back requirements to meet the most recent building codes. This policy will cover the extra costs you will face.
Most standard homeowner’s policies provide a small amount of building code coverage, however the older the home the more likely the house is out of compliance with today’s building codes.
How can you lower your premium on your antique home?
- Make updates to your older home (some insurers may make you make these updates before you get insured)
- Modernize the Wiring
- Update the plumbing system
- Get a new roof
- Update your appliances
- Install safety devices (smoke detectors, alarms, sprinklers, permanent electric generators, etc.)
- Increasing your policy deductible can lower your premium.
Other Important Information about Antique or Historic Homes
• Talk to an agent regarding whether your home qualifies for Historic Home Insurance.
• Bring in experts to determine if you should update aspects of the home.
• Know what you want replaced if your home is damaged.
• Be prepared for higher premiums when purchasing an older home.
• Contact a local insurance agent to help you determine the best coverage you need.
Get the Historic or Antique Insurance Coverage that your Home Needs
When insuring your antique home, you need the right coverage to preserve the history that the home brings. When looking over your homeowner’s insurance policy, make sure you are fully covered in case of damage. If you feel that you are lacking coverage, it is time for a new agent.
Here at Daigle & Travers, we will provide you with the assistance you need when you are purchasing your homeowners insurance for your older house. When partnering with us, we will give you all the necessary information and options you need to make the best choice of insurance company and policy. Give us a call today at (203)-655-6974.